Jan de Boer: „We would like to have Dutch Garden in Disneyland for at least five years”

Dutch Garden will open in Disneyland Paris this autumn. 3,000 m2 of plants and flowers from the Netherlands. The link with Grandparents’ Day should give plant and flower sales in autumn a boost.

During the first half of the year it’s Valentine’s Day, Women’s Day and the various Mother’s Days that give plant and flower pricing a positive impulse. In autumn, that used to be the 1st of November. But the demand for plants and flowers around that day isn’t so great anymore according to Jan de Boer. “The Spaniards and Italians no longer visit the cemeteries to the same extent as before.”

The director of exporter Barendsen is involved in the Blooming Breeders initiative to plant a Dutch Garden in Disneyland Paris. Blooming Breeders, a foundation of mostly breeders, took this initiative because the consumer is of incredible importance to breeders. “If plants and flowers don’t sell, there’s no need for breeders to develop new varieties”, says De Boer.

Blooming Breeders approached Charles Lansdorp, who has been trying to introduce Grandparents’ Day (2nd of October) outside Italy for many years. Grandparents’ Day could maybe push up the prices of plants and flowers in September.

Grandparents’ Day is all about connecting the generations, more specifically, connecting grandparents and grandchildren. It’s a theme that appeals to Disneyland, says De Boer. “Disney once had a dream of bringing grandparents and grandchildren closer together. If we attract some attention with our plants and flowers in their theme park, they’ll be more than happy to support Grandparents’ Day”, says De Boer. And not just in France, but beyond as well. “They’ve got a lot more media power than we do.”

De Boer has noticed that Disneyland is looking for added value. “Things are much more mixed up nowadays. Everyone sells everything. If we can create more demand for plants and flowers in the second half of the year this way, that would be great.”

Charles Lansdorp calls it the blue ocean strategy. The red ocean represents a sea of blood – an existing market where everyone fights for a share. The blue ocean represents a market that plants and flowers haven’t entered into yet and which could expand the floricultural industry. The objective of the collaboration between Disneyland and the floricultural industry is to increase the number of visitors to Disneyland on the one hand. And to increase the demand for plants and flowers around the 2nd of October on the other hand. The location, the design and the size of the 3,000 m2 garden are expected to attract the attention of millions of visitors.

Blooming Breeders would like to include other Dutch sectors in the project. That way, the Dutch Garden project isn’t just about the promotion of plants and flowers. De Boer mentions huge companies and points out they have an interest in France too. “Flowers allow them to present themselves with personality and warmth.” The idea is that the garden will be financed by 25 companies from the floricultural industry and 25 companies from other sectors.

The Dutch embassy in Paris is busy with the recruitment of the 25 companies outside the floricultural industry. De Boer: “France is an important country for the Dutch economy. There are some very influential Dutch parties over there and we’d like to get those involved.”

The Dutch Ministry for Economic Affairs has already expressed its support for the flower garden. They consider the Dutch Garden important for the floricultural industry as well as for other sectors. The first garden is a pilot project and is definitely going ahead. There won’t be any problems with that, ensures De Boer. “But we’ve got great ambitions, we’d like to have the garden for at least five years. That way, you can really determine whether it works or not.”